By ELIOT CAROOM
BP, Enbridge and other companies returned workers to production platforms today after Tropical Storm Karen was downgraded to a depression and passed by offshore assets on its way toward the mainland.
Karens maximum sustained winds fell to about 30 miles/hour (48 kilometers) with the storms center no longer well- defined, the National Hurricane Center said in a bulletin. Karen may produce rainfall of 1 to 3 inches over parts of the central Gulf Coast and southeastern US through tomorrow, the report said.
You cant even find the main area, the main center on satellite anymore, Shawn ONeil, a Slidell, Louisiana-based meteorologist for the National Weather Service said by telephone today. It stayed south of the coast, did not make landfall, and its moving due east right now.
Before Karen was downgraded, the storms threat shut almost 62% of Gulf oil production, some 866,000 bpd of oil, and 48% of natural gas output, or 1.8 billion cubic feet daily, as of Saturday, according to the US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Those numbers were cut as workers returned to their platforms.
Chevron's 330,000-bpd refinery in Pascagoula, Mississippi, returned to normal, the company said. Royal Dutch Shell had cut rates at its 85,000 bpd plant in Mobile, Alabama, and Motiva Enterprises reduced output at the 250,000 bpd Norco, Louisiana, refinery due to delays caused by Karen, Shell said on its website yesterday.
Karen was the 11th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.